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Amelia Flynn is a certified baby and child sleep consultant based in Goulburn, NSW. When it comes to sleep, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

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Nurture Sleep

Matrescence – The Journey to Motherhood

I loved being pregnant (apart from the morning sickness and tiredness), I loved seeing my bump grow, feeling my baby kick and I will even admit that I loved all the attention. When you’re pregnant it’s pretty much all about you, especially if it’s your first baby.

 

Wow did I get a shock when my baby was born! Why had no-one told me how I would feel? That I would be my baby’s everything 24 hours, seven days a week for months on end. I mean I knew I would need to feed my baby frequently, get them to sleep and change nappies but I just wasn’t prepared for how stuck, isolated and alone I would feel and just how much my baby would depend on me. I felt so lost and didn’t recognise myself anymore. Becoming a mother at 32, I was used to doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and being able to make decisions just for myself. This had all been totally flipped on its head and I guess I was in shock. I always felt like other mums had it all together, that they loved every second of motherhood and that if I complained I wasn’t grateful for my beautiful baby. Little did I know that this wasn’t true.  Social media really has a lot to answer for!

 

Fast forward five years and hearing the word Matrescence was a huge AHA moment BUT I also deeply wished I had known about this when I was pregnant.  So what exactly is Matrescence and why is it so important? I’m sure you’ve heard of Adolescence – the change we all go through from childhood to adulthood when our hormones go berserk, voices break, bodies change and all of a sudden, our relationships with the opposite sex become much more important.

 

Well, Matrescence is the major journey we go through from Womanhood to Motherhood…..makes sense right? So why don’t we all know about this? Perhaps because there are so many women’s health issues out there that are swept under the carpet, misunderstood and not given the attention they deserve. I think that in order to understand why this impacts us so dramatically in every way, shape and form it’s helpful to understand what’s goes on internally to bring about this huge shift.

 

What I can tell you is that Matrescence encompasses all of the physiological, psychological, biological and social changes we go through during pregnancy, birth, the postnatal period and into motherhood. If you’re pregnant or have had a baby you’ll be familiar with baby brain, well that’s a clever biological trick (although we don’t feel clever) that results from huge hormonal change. The structure of our brain actually shifts so that we can start to slow down and prepare ourselves to care for our infants – behaviourally, mentally and emotionally.

 

Knowing all of that, it’s no surprise just how out of our depth, out of control and detached we can feel. Who is this new person that’s replaced the person we used to be and what have they done with the old us? Don’t worry, all of the important parts that really make us who we are still exist deep down, it’s just that our priorities have had to change and the woman we identified with for so long has just gone AND it’s just literally happened overnight.

 

What can you do with this information now? Just knowing that all mums go through this can make us feel more at ease, that we aren’t alone and that it’s a process we’re meant to go through, like a rite of passage. It can be helpful to write down how we are feeling and thinking and to be aware of how we talk to ourselves. Knowing that we are doing the best we can, ensuring we are practising self-care, having some ‘me-time’ and prioritising rest whenever we can are all ways to help us connect to our inner-self and be better mums – perhaps just starting with 10 minutes at a time and increasing this as and when we can. Please don’t see this as indulgent or selfish as in order for us to be the best we can be as mothers we need to rest and recharge.

 

As our babies grow, we will start to see glimpses of the woman we were ‘before’ – some parts we won’t get back as they no longer serve us in this new stage of our life, and we will start to build a revised version of ourselves….and then if we have another baby it all changes again! Such is the journey of Matrescence.

 

For further information about Matrescence please visit www.matrescence.co.nz; https://www.dearmamaproject.com/; https://www.amytaylorkabbaz.com/

 

Sarah Hillman is the founder of Mind Body Babies NZ. As a qualified Birth Doula, Hypnobirthing and Birth Stories Listening specialist she helps mums and their partners have a positive birth experience and transition into parenthood. To connect with Sarah please check out her website www.mindbodybabies.co.nz or follow her on Instagram and Facebook @mindbodybabiesnz